They sold us a dream of Christmas

Oh fine, just a quick one, but for the wrong reason, it gives me the chance to put up the video for what is probably my favourite Christmas song of all time, because I’m perverse like that.

Back in the 1970’s I was more into Glam Rock, than Prog Rock, so the likes of King Crimson, and ELP (with the exception of ‘Fanfare for a common man’) pretty much passed me by. But in those good old days, before X Factor and the like, the leading acts went crazy at Christmas, and issued records specifically aimed at that time of year. Fine, Slade and Wizzard might have been more serious attempts than say, The Wombles, but anyway…

Then in 1974, along came the song that for want of a better term, was the antithesis of the standard Christmas hit. The one looking at the cynical commercialisation of the event, and a jaded look at all the wars going on in the world at that time. Yes, Greg Lake. Amazing thing is, how many dont realise it is anti the traditional Christmas scene, especially in shops at this time of year.

Anyway, yesterday, I heard the sad news, Greg has died at 69, another victim of cancer. So yes, you’re getting the obvious RIP tribute song from me.

They said there would be peace on Earth.

Yes, a line from one of my favourite Christmas pop songs of all time.

Its funny, Greg Lake wrote that line in a cynical manner, back in the 1970’s, and sadly, not a lot has changed. Well, I guess the Cold War is past us, but you have to worry about cranks like ISIS instead. And things dont seem to get any better, with stories of Muslim families from the UK having their entry arrangements into the US cancelled at the last moment too. I know, there is a faint chance they could be terrorists, but seriously…Sadly, Donald Trump’s awful rhetoric seems to have got into the heads of some in the US, and it has come to this. Such a shame.

The other thing I found sad today probably affects more people. I went to the local mini supermarket early this afternoon, thinking I had to get the 1 item I needed early, as I thought they would be closing early on Christmas Eve. Wrong, its open to 10.00 tonight, a sad turn of events to me, and my sympathies go out to the staff, not that they’re likely to read this. Is it really only 30 years ago that by about 5.00 on Christmas Eve, everything but the pubs would be shut? Ah well, though I dont see this change as a good one.

Alright, comments on modern life over. Let me just wish all my followers on here, a very Merry Christmas, and I hope you get everything you wish for.

No, I dont expect to get a brainwashing, or mind control helmet, or even better, a robot suit that actually transforms me, or at least a chamber that will do so. A full, and permanent, Jean Harlow makeover, nope, either. What I will get, who knows?

OK, to close, the video. I gave a big clue to the song above, so lets roll with it.

Do you believe in Father Christmas?

No, I’m not really asking that question of my readers, I think I know the answer of at least 99.99% of you, if I did! But yes, it gives a clue to my video choice, not your normal Christmas celebration song.

It has to be said, that in terms of Christmas record releases, the 70’s was probably the most productive era since the 40’s, and early 50’s, at least in the UK. It seemed that any glam rock band (and others) worth anything wanted to produce a festive record at Christmas.

And yes, they were fun, and fitted in with the general merriment of the season. Hey, yes, I love most of them to be honest. But thankfully, someone had to be different. Yes, Greg Lake.

The irony is, its still played incessantly at Christmas, despite in fact being a cynical comment on the meaning of Christmas at that time. Just remember, this is at the height of the Cold War, the final flings in Vietnam, and of course the Middle East was pretty much a battle zone half the time too.

Oh, and the total commercialisation of Christmas too.

Greg Lake was not a glam rock artist, just the opposite in fact, he was a member of the very successful prog rock trio, of Emerson, Lake and Palmer. Which may explain why he produced something very different. ELP in fact did record their own version of this the following year too, but I cant find a ‘moving’ video for that. Probably because they wouldnt consider anything like making a video lol!

“May there be peace on Earth.”

40 years on, we are still pretty much as far away from that as we were back then.

So, regardless of whether you believe in Father Christmas, or not, may I, at this time of year mention the true meaning of Christmas, and wish you a wonderful time, at this time of year. The video…

Oh, and for those who love such things, a couple of Christmas pictures of me, sorry, Jean Harlow

Standing by the tree

Christmas Presents

I believe in Father Christmas

Well, alright, maybe I dont, I’m a bit old for that now, but all the same…its a nice idea?

So here we are, 3 days from the big event, and just 1 more working day to go, tomorrow. Actually, thats a bit of a strange one, given there is no horse racing now in the UK, or Ireland until Boxing Day, but still the gambling goes on. Foreign racing, greyhounds, and virtual racing will keep assaulting the punters through the next 2 days, and indeed those computerised chances to lose (or occasionally win) money, on the machines now in all betting shops. Oh, football and sport betting too, of that I’m sure. Yes, we actually shut on Christmas Day, the only day now that the betting shops actually shut. People will still be betting online though, that is for sure!

Shops used to shut on Good Friday, and these 2 days before Christmas as well, but money nowadays is the main concern, and so the shops are open. Not quite so bad in our place, but not good, all the same!

What am I expecting for Christmas in gifts, no idea. I was expecting the usual choccies and booze routine, but I’m told there has been some ‘out of the box’ thinking done this year, so it will be interesting to see what I get. Something 20’s related might make for a good bet lol!

2014 looks like having an interesting start for me, beginning with the release of my 5th ebook, when I get it back from my wonderful editor, James. The other interesting looking event early in the year, could be me getting to be a hypno-bot, at least for a little while, now that should be fun! More details nearer the time, I suspect.

The video, a Christmas song, a live version from somewhere I will visit in 2014, Albany. Probably my favourite Christmas song in all honesty, probably because of the nature of the feelings, and lyrics

I believe in Father Christmas

I’ve been lazy tonight, both blogs have got the same title, the same song, though different versions, and neither the original Greg lake one, though this is obviously close to it!

Back in the dim, distant past of the 1970’s, something called prog rock developed, mainly a number of groups turning out albums full of tracks that lasted ‘forever’, and about 6 tracks (or less)¬†would fill an album lasting 45 minutes or so. Genesis are probably the most famous of those in the sense they turned to pop after Gabriel’s departure, and popular acclaim came their way. Others, like Yes, and indeed ELP (Emerson, Lake and Palmer in full) never seemed to worry about such matters.

And then in 1975, Greg Lake came up with a Christmas hit, shock horror! Not your typical schmaltzy, sweet as saccharin record though, his had far more of a jaded, and cynical touch to it, and thats probably why I loved it. The original video (which I’m sure you can find) hints at the horrors of the Vietnam War, which was still very much in the news back then. It wasnt a massive hit in the way many others were, I’m sure the nature of it put some off buying it. It wasnt sweetness and light, it was more real life than that. And also clearly, shock horror, he didnt really believe in Father Christmas!

Equally, in typical ELP fashion, a few months later, totally out of season, the group did their own version of the song, and thats what you’re getting tonight. Apart from the end, the versions are fairly similar to be honest. To be honest, prog rock never was my scene, but this great Greg Lake song certainly was, hope you enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=endscreen&v=L0TBgyxRnjY

Apologies for the lyrics thing in advance